Some very sad news was revealed on Facebook today by longtime journalist Geoff Keighley: 15-year veteran of Electronic Arts David DeMartini has died. While the bulk of his career was at EA, DeMartini had left the company at the end of 2013 to join Oculus VR as the head of worldwide publishing.
In a statement released to GamesIndustry.biz, Oculus commented, "David DeMartini was an early pioneer at Oculus and we were fortunate to learn from him, to call him a friend and to experience his incredible determination and infectious humor. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends right now."
According to his LinkedIn profile, DeMartini had left Oculus only eight months later to act as an independent consultant for companies in VR, gaming, entertainment and e-commerce. During his time at EA dating back to 1999, DeMartini worked on numerous big franchises as senior vice president, including Tiger Woods PGA Tour and The Godfather, and he played a critical role in signing developers like Harmonix and Valve while overseeing EA Partners. As EA moved more and more into the digital space, DeMartini also was responsible for the upstart EA Origin digital distribution platform, which has grown to well over 50 million users.
GamesIndustry.biz would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to all of DeMartini's family, friends and co-workers.
[UPDATE]: Electronic Arts also released a statement, saying, "David DeMartini was an institution here at EA for many years. His trademark wit, passion and warmth shaped every team, game and project he touched. We've lost a great one, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and everyone that had the great fortune to know him. DeMar will be truly missed."
[UPDATE 2]: Polygon managed to speak with DeMartini's son, Dominic, who confirmed that David suffered complications from a lung transplant while at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. David DeMartini was 56 years old.